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2-D Man

Heh, I had totally forgotten about Up on the Housetop. When I was a kid, I went to a private, Christian school, where a good number of the kids were being indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christianity. I distinctly recall some kids refusing to sing any songs about Santa, as it's an anagram for Satan.

I remember thinking that they were all nuts, and proceeded to sing Up on the Housetop just to tick them off.

Allison

My favorite Xmas song is still "Baby it's Cold Outside" and it meets all your requirements, too!

Lenoxuss

Christmas is fun for me… but I really can't stand this culture's "You Must Love Christmas" thing. (As exemplified by fiction's various Grinchy McScrooges: not celebrating Christmas = curmudgeon.) You can shrug your shoulders on Valentine's Dat, but naysay Yule and you might as well be praising Nazis.

It seems to be partly an outgrowth of plain ol' Christian exceptionalism, whereby You Must Love Jesus. And it's really reared its head in these past couple years, where not saying "Merry Christmas", or even saying "Happy Holidays", is seen as part of a massive underground effort to besiege Traditional Values and destroy Christians. And the wildest irony is that the holiday itself was once seen as just that! In this country, the only ones to have actually "banned Christmas" are Christians themselves, namely Puritans. Christmas once exemplified the sort of secular debauchery that fundamentalists fear today.

Still, as much as or perhaps even more than atheists like me, Christians are the victims of the You Must Love Christmas madness. With lucky exceptions, each American gets torn by rival factions — families, charities, and stores — to make this year's the most Wonderful Christmas Ever. And a lot of that isn't just from the pressure of the various institutions, but because so many of us really do have nice nostalgic memories of how wonderful our Christmases used to be, when we didn't have to worry about giving, only whether or not we would receive. So we feel this tremendous guilt to give that childhood-sized emotional experience back to our parents, even if they're not alive anymore, and we sense this enormous duty to pull off something flawless. And in the midst of all this, the failure to enjoy oneself is seen (as illustrated by Scrooge and others) to arise purely from some unwillingness to part with money, or from a displeasure that other people are having fun! (What other people? What fun? They're usually as freaked as we are!) Thanksgiving is stress-free by comparison. At least the meal can be delegated so everyone has something small to do, and much creativity isn't usually expected.

Did I mention that Christmas is fun for me? Yeah, in December I basically do my best to trim down any sense of holiday-specific obligation. Plus, even while I despair at the panic and neurotic of all the other celebrants, I deeply enjoy what it's really about, which is the axial tilt of the Earth with respect to the Sun, and the fun of lying to children.

Nentuaby

@Allison:

Seriously? I find that song's gender politics utterly appalling. The "mouse" (the score's actual notation for the part) making up obvious desperate excuses for escape, the "wolf" (ditto) clearly refusing to accept their obvious subtextual intent... It really makes me squirm. Like "Merry Christmas, I got you some rape culture."

the bug guy

My primary problem is that many songs on your list follow the trope that it has to be cold (and frozen) for the holiday.

Some of us do not live in the Great Frozen North ;) and prefer songs like Jimmy Buffett's "Christmas in the Caribbean".

Nentuaby

@the big guy:

Heard Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun?" A very secular Christmas song from an Antipodean perspective.

Ginger

How about the songs from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"? It's gorgeous jazz!

Also The Pretenders' "2000 Miles" is sad yet beautiful.

KShep

I think "Run Rudolph Run," escapes the parody category, and several versions of it, like Foghat's, absolutely rock.

And I'm surprised no one else thought of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from the Dr. Seuss cartoon, although by itself it has no connection to xmas without the listener knowing the full story.

Barry

Just to be a little pedantic, "Deck The Halls" is not the original song. The original is in Welsh: "Oer yw'r gwr sy'n methu caru".

http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/welsh/deckhall.htm

Peter Tibbles

Those songs are all very well, but there's a hell of a lot of snow mentioned, something that's noticeably lacking here in Australia at this time of the year. Thus, I'm glad Tim rated a mention, even if not included in the list.

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